As the years go by there is an ever growing number of people who opt for a DIY project in lieu of spending copious amounts of money hiring professionals. Typically, these are homeowners who are on a tight budget with homes that need repairing. The only problem seems to be when they encounter a fix that requires specialty tools or a bit of experience that they just don’t have. This is often what happens when working with metal and they run into a situation where something needs to be welded.
Without the proper welding equipment or experience, the job at hand just might be beyond what they are prepared to deal with. Even that doesn’t deter some homeowners who simply rent the equipment and then go about learning what they need to know to get the job done. If you are new to welding, here are five interesting facts you need to know before you start.
1. Safety Is ALWAYS Your Primary Concern
Welding can be extremely dangerous if you aren’t experienced and don’t have at least a basic working knowledge of the processes, materials and consumables used. You will need some basic safety gear that includes:
- Safety glasses – goggles (for gas welding)
- Specialty jacket that is fire resistant
- Welding gauntlets
- A Helmet that is approved for welding, preferably one that is auto darkening.
These are the most basic items you will need to ensure safe welding and if safety isn’t interesting, don’t even start!
2. There Are Three Welding Process You Need to Know
Depending on the type of material and consumables you will be working with, there are actually three different welding processes you will need to have at least a basic understanding of. Those processes are:
Each of those are basic welding processes require specific welding equipment and will pertain to the job that you are undertaking. Learn the basics of each process before you begin welding.
3. Intuitive Interfaces Automatically Sense Settings
As you begin working on a project there are parameters on the welder that you will need to set. If possible, source one with an intuitive user interface that can detect the proper input voltage once you have programmed in the process you are going to use, the type of material you will be welding, the thickness of that material and the consumable you will be welding. This reduces the skill level required to weld a chosen material.
4. The Type of Material and Consumable Determine the Process
One interesting bit of technical jargon you will hear referred to often is the word ‘consumable.’ In welding this simply refers to whether you will be welding a wire or an electrode. Each requires a different input voltage so this is why it is important to understand the difference. Materials are important because each type of material (i.e. steel, iron, aluminium, etc.) will require different processes and settings through the interface.
5. Match the Process to the Location
It is interesting to note that the different processes you can use are often better suited indoors than out or vice versa. For example, MIG welding can be difficult to do outdoors because wind has a habit of blowing away shielding gas. It is recommended that if you will be welding things like wire outdoors that you use a self-shielded flux-cored welding process.
These interesting facts may not sound so interesting at the moment but when you are ready to begin welding, you had better understand them or your interest in your DIY project will quickly fade. If you don’t understand the difference between MIG and TIG welding, for example you could get it wrong every time. The one key point to always remember is that safety is a chief concern when welding so consider safety first above everything else.